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Nationals Notebook

Rizzo Among Three Primary Candidates for Permanent GM Job

Mike Rizzo, who was named acting general manager after Jim Bowden resigned during spring training, has rebuilt the Nationals' bullpen and acquired a top-notch leadoff hitter in Nyjer Morgan in his time at the helm.
Mike Rizzo, who was named acting general manager after Jim Bowden resigned during spring training, has rebuilt the Nationals' bullpen and acquired a top-notch leadoff hitter in Nyjer Morgan in his time at the helm. (By John Mcdonnell -- The Washington Post)
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By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 12, 2009

ATLANTA, Aug. 11 -- The Washington Nationals are narrowing their search for a permanent general manager, with Mike Rizzo, Boston assistant GM Jed Hoyer, and Arizona player personnel vice president Jerry Dipoto emerging as the primary candidates, according to a variety of industry sources.

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The Nationals, who have employed Rizzo as acting general manager since the resignation of Jim Bowden during spring training, will likely determine the job after the Monday deadline for draft pick signings.

One source said that it appears no further interviews will be conducted.

As President Stan Kasten and the Lerner family have conducted their search, exploring choices beyond Rizzo, many in Washington's front office have grown anxious about their future. On March 4, three days after Bowden's resignation, Rizzo, who has been with Washington since 2006, was given responsibility for day-to-day operations of the major league roster -- a de facto GM job. Still, his title of assistant general manager did not change.

Since that day, Rizzo has rebuilt the Nationals' bullpen with a series of low-cost free agent moves, conducted a draft, traded for Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett and dealt Nick Johnson and Joe Beimel. He has been given no indication about his chances for permanent general manager job, but at least one national report indicated that Dipoto is the front-runner.

"Rizzo is liked by people in the baseball community. There are a lot of people who are hoping he gets the job," said agent Matt Sosnick, who represents Josh Willingham and Scott Olsen. "Just stepping back -- even taking away any recent winning streak -- it's hard to fault him for any baseball move this season. He inherited a team without a lot of continuity and flow. And from a personal standpoint, he's very direct, very fair."

Rizzo, who came to Washington from Arizona, spent time in the Diamondbacks' front office with Dipoto. A former major league reliever who played at Virginia Commonwealth University, Dipoto is in his fourth season with Arizona, where he oversees pro scouting. Hoyer has been with the Red Sox since 2002, a lieutenant to Theo Epstein. When Epstein briefly left the job in the 2005-06 offseason, Hoyer was named co-GM.

Storen Is Promoted

First-round pick Drew Storen, a Stanford right-hander selected 10th overall in the June draft, has been promoted to Class AA Harrisburg. In 18 minor league games so far, split between Class A Hagerstown and Class A Potomac, Storen has a 2.92 ERA. He's struck out 37 and walked two.


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